Alcoholism Treatment Explained (And Where to Find It)

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Alcoholism Treatment: What Goes into Getting Sober and Where Can I Find Help?

According to a study by Dr. Grant and her colleges from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry, one third of all adults in the United States have suffered from alcohol use disorder (AUD) at some point in their lives. What they also discovered is that only about 20 percent received treatment, which the researchers suggest is due to skepticism that people still have about AUD treatment. To help dispel fears and skepticism, we will explore alcoholism treatment in this article in order to get a better understanding of the process.

How can you identify an alcohol problem? Click here to learn the signs of alcoholism.

When Casual Use Turns into a Problem

Many of us enjoy a drink from time to time, but for some people, it can become a habit that is difficult to shake. What starts as a harmless activity can become a serious problem that negatively impacts many areas of their life; from their health to people in the life.

The signs of alcoholism may become more apparent as this situation develops; the problems caused by alcoholism become so severe that even attempts to hide it from others becomes futile. The signs of alcoholism that can indicate a problem in a loved one or friend include:

  • They often binge drink
  • They denial excessive use of alcohol even though you often witness them drinking heavily
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Loss of energy and motivation
  • Forgetfulness and memory blackouts
  • Suspicious or deceitful behavior
  • Unexplained injuries and bruises
  • The smell of alcohol on their breath even when they deny drinking
  • Drinking at unusual times, such as in the mornings
  • They are frequently unreachable
  • Uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Spending money on alcohol even when they can barely cover their bills
  • They sometimes appear ill due to their withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms include headaches, seizures, anxiety, insomnia, depression, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and profuse sweating.

Types of Alcoholism Treatment Programs

Getting help for alcohol use disorder is a major step in the right direction. But when first looking into alcoholism treatment, there may seem like there are many different types of alcohol addiction treatment programs available. This is because the best rehabs approach alcoholism treatment through a comprehensive, whole-patient approach in order to properly tackle the complex nature of the disease.

The following explores the types of alcohol addiction treatment programs that are the most effective at dealing with the disease.

Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

For any moderate to severe addiction to alcohol, detox can be a crucial part of treatment. After an alcoholic quits drinking, they are quickly met with severe withdrawal symptoms due to the dependence that forms with heavy alcohol use. Their body, in this adjusted state, craves and to an extent needs alcohol to function. The withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe, in cases where the symptoms are severe, it can be life-threatening if it’s not treated medically.

A medical detox is a program that aims to assist the patient through the withdrawal symptoms by using FDA-approved medications that are recognized by the World Health Organization as effective detox solutions. Along with the prescription and over-the-counter medications, medical staff are on standby 24/7 to ensure the wellbeing of the patient. Alcohol withdrawal treatment is usually only available in an inpatient facility.

Inpatient Rehab

Many people opt for inpatient treatment because it allows them to get away from all negative influences in their life and put all of their effort on their recovery. This makes these programs ideal for people who have relapsed before after rehab, or in severe cases of alcoholism since no alcohol is allowed on the premises. Rehab centers provide accommodation within their facilities where recovering addicts can partake in an intensive daily schedule, and the programs usually last from 30 to 90 days.

Outpatient Rehab

For those who are seeking rehab treatment but can’t take a leave of absence from their home and work life, outpatient rehab offers the same types of behavioral therapy but with the added benefit of choosing when to come in for treatment. This form of treatment is generally ideal for two types of people: those with a mild to moderate addiction to alcohol, and those who have just finished an inpatient rehab program seeking to continue with their care but with greater autonomy. Outpatient programs generally require that a person come in for treatment roughly 3 to 5 times a week, and can continue for 30 to 90 days, depending on individual needs.

Support Groups

Another form of treatment is the infamous Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar programs such as SMART Recovery. They provide long-term solutions to alcohol treatment, and many rehab programs incorporate them into a treatment plan. However, they do not provide a means to deal with the intense withdrawal symptoms that people experience, and people often use these programs as a means to continue with their recovery after rehab.

Stages of Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder treatment doesn’t happen overnight; properly treating the disease of addiction is a process that should continue for at least 90 days according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The stages that treatment occurs in is as follows.

Detoxification

As stated before, there are often severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms that occur when an alcohol dependent person stops their substance abuse. Detoxification is the first major thing that will happen during treatment. After roughly 5 to 7 days, the person will start to feel more like themselves again as the symptoms dissipate.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation includes all of the behavioral therapies and holistic treatment programs that a person partakes in during recovery at a rehab. Their purpose is to delve into the causes of addiction, problematic thinking and behavior, and lifestyle changes that need to be made. Healthy alternatives are taught along with the skills needed to prevent relapse.

Maintenance

After the 30 to 90 days of rehab, the person then needs to manage their addiction. This is where aftercare programs such as sober living homes and support group meetings come into play. Through diligent maintenance of the disease, addiction can be beaten for good.

Finding Treatment

With so many rehabs offering a multitude of programs, it can be hard to find a good program in your area. Thankfully, Better Addiction Care can help in this respect. We have compiled an extensive list of all of the quality rehab centers across the country.

To gain access to the list of rehabs, on the current page, navigate to the Search for Facility section and select a state. You then have the option to search based on your county or city, which will then take you to all the listings for the area. Alternatively, you may call us at (800) 429-7690 to speak to a rehab advisor.

Sources:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery